I'm surprised that nobody has brought up the latest generation of LED lights
from Mag-Lite. I've been fooling around with them lately & I find that the performance is well above the older Xenon lights that they made. There are a few different versions out there & they each have their place in this world, as well as their individual quirks.
I'll start with the little ones. The classic 2 x AA battery
Mag-lite is still available & only costs around $10 with a spare bulb in the back end & 2 batteries included. There are two LED versions that I have used that look very similar & have the same twist head
. One was a "super bright" version (around 140 lumen) with an "electronic switch". If you turn it on & off quickly a few times, you can get it to go full power, or low power
(for longer battery
life) or blink "SOS". Battery life is much better than the standard unit described above. You can use these lights in "candle mode" by removing the reflector head
. I find this useful for lighting
up a room during a power outage. I've been though 3 of these. One was DOA within 30 seconds of putting in the batteries that came with it. The other two are still working fine, after more than 6-months in use.
There is also a version that looks exactly like the one described above, but it has a brighter super-bright LED that is over 200 lumen. It has a single
function (twist type) on-off switch. This one gets a little hot when you use it for more than 10 minutes. It chews through batteries a little faster than I like. I find that it is actually a little too bright for some tasks. It is still working reliably after about 4-months of hard use.
There is another version that uses 2 x AA batteries but has a different case style with a push-button switch on the end of it. This has a 3 function switch that lets you choose between high, low & fast flash (not SOS). It's brightness is probably between the two described above, but I don't remember the actual number of lumen. Battery life is good. It can not be used in candle mode. This one is the most expensive.
The large frame Mag-lites now come in LED too. They are even brighter than the little ones. 3 D-cells will last for days.
A company (nite-eyes?) makes LED retrofit kits for the original 2 x AA & D-cell mag-lites. These LED bulbs are not as bright as the ones that come from Mag-lite, but battery life is excellent.
Mag-lites remain one of the best built general-purpose flashlights that I have encountered. The little Chinese LED lights
that I have bought all failed withing a short time. They had a variety of problems. The most common was corrosion
at the points where dissimilar metals meet.
For true spot light performance, the best that I have encountered was a Darrel Allen Scuba
light. It's a pain in the neck to change the batteries & reseal the )-ring properly, but the light tough as nails, bright as all get out & good to depths that you can't reach while diving
on straight air. Mine is now probably close to 30 years old & still going strong. The only weak point is the magnetic switch. I need to tap it a little to get it to switch on. I consider that to be a small price
to pay for the fact that it nullifies the requirement to have a penetration in the body of the light for the switch & therefore a potential point of leakage.